There's something refreshingly clarifying about living through a moment of global catastrophe. Because while a once-in-a-generation pandemic like the coronavirus outbreak has brought out some of the absolute best in humanity, it's also been an opportunity for a whole host of people to damningly reveal their true colors to the internet.
For example, with lives on the line and an economy on the verge of collapse, former New York City mayor bumbling presidential attorney Rudy Giuliani would like you to know that it's no big deal that scores of people are dying every day from coronavirus, because lots of people die every day always! Worse still, he has quoted this bit of wisdom from accidental Hitler defender Candace Owens:
Yes, that is the same man whose botched attempts to strong-arm another country into interfering in the 2020 election led to the impeachment of president of the United States — remember that? He's now urging us to put the fact that there have been 1,000 coronavirus deaths to date — almost all within the last week — in "perspective."
For a little more perspective, though, Giuliani should probably revise his blasé tweet when the coronavirus mortality numbers skyrocket into the thousands — a virtual certainty — if not hundreds of thousands, or even millions, as some experts predict they might.
Giuliani isn't alone in taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to make a completely loathsome public statement. Joining him in that ignominious club is none other than Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz — a man who initially mocked the deeply warranted fears over coronavirus by wearing a gas mask on the House floor, only to soberly put himself in actual quarantine a few weeks later after he was exposed to the virus.
As lawmakers scrambled to pass a massive, if questionably sufficient aid package to support to Americans struggling during this pandemic, Gaetz decided that it was the right time to pick a fight with Howard University — a historically Black school that received $13 million in federal funds from the relief bill.
Fox News's Ed Henry also couldn't wrap his head around why Howard University was included in the aid package.
As it happens, Howard University is home to a huge hospital that has been providing coronavirus care throughout this pandemic. In fact, as Washington Post reporter Gillian Brockell pointed out, the hospital is well within walking distance from Gaetz's own office in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), a graduate of Howard herself, gave Gaetz an impromptu math lesson over his complaints:
Curious, then, why Gaetz and Henry chose to single out Howard, of all places, for their criticism.
Finally, we come to infamously loud sports radio host Clay Travis, a man who inexplicably has the attention of Matt Wolking, the deputy communications director for the Trump re-election campaign. Wolking shared Travis's, shall we say "extremely incorrect," attempt to dunk on epidemiologists.
Had Travis read the article he chose to share, he would have seen that Neil Ferguson, the epidemiologist in question, wasn't so much "wrong" as he was "reasonably confident" that measures put in place after his initial warning — measures such as social distancing — had dramatically lowered the mortality estimate he originally offered.
While there are plenty of things about this pandemic that are frightening, and alarming, and uncertain, one thing we can count on is that there always have been, and always will be, extremely bad opinions on the internet shared by people who can't help but make things worse.